Through special convenings, Piper Trust brings renowned experts in fundraising, board development, and other topics of interest to grantees. Piper Academies offer professional development opportunities for executive directors, board members, and select staff of Piper Trust’s grantee organizations. Piper Academies feature experts from across the country and provide a forum to share insights with professionals doing similar work. Occasionally Piper Academies include follow-on training or funding opportunities.
Examples of Piper Academies
Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed her findings on “grit” and how it connects to education, social services, the arts, and nonprofit management.
A multi-day training event examined board roles and responsibilities, board structure and organization, effective board recruitment, and board fundraising with Chuck Loring, senior BoardSource governance consultant known for his expertise in building a board’s effectiveness in fundraising.
Really—I Can Be Sued for That? The Legal, Ethical, and Fiduciary “Ins and Outs” of Nonprofit Board Service
A panel of local legal and financial experts, moderated by Piper Trust’s Chief Financial Officer Mary Jane Rynd, addressed legal, ethical and fiduciary responsibilities and challenges of nonprofit board service. Panelists touched upon duty of care, duty of loyalty, third party reliance, excess benefit transactions, maintenance of tax exempt status, unrelated business activities, financial and audit committees, overhead ratios and functional expense accounting, and the importance of personal giving by board members. Panelists were Craig McPike, Partner, Snell; & Wilmer; Ron Stearns, Assurance Partner, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP; and Dennis Mitchem, CPA (Retired).
Dan Pallotta addressed 120 local foundation and nonprofit leaders about the provocative ideas in his book Uncharitable – How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential. Pallotta believes our society has swallowed whole a set of ideas dating back to the Puritans about doing good that actually ensures less success and prevents real progress for nonprofits. For example, we accept that employees in the nonprofit sector should make less money than their counterparts in the for-profit world, yet greater compensation for the value they produce could attract more gifted people to solve society’s intractable problems. Dan described how we expect the nonprofit sector to aspire to greatness but insist nonprofits do so without the successful tactics of the business sector such as marketing, advertising, and acceptance of risk. Not only must nonprofits be allowed to use the tools of commerce to thrive and accomplish their missions, Pallotta argued, but the public also needs to get over its mistaken and persistent obsession with fundraising costs and overhead ratios.
Dr. Reynold Levy, a distinguished nonprofit leader and president of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York, gave an upbeat presentation to nonprofit leaders. He began: “Today is an unusual day; it is 9:30 in the morning, and I haven’t asked anyone for money!” Dr. Levy gave tips on fundraising and working with boards of directors. Each participant received his book, Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management. Piper Trust distributed RFPs to attendees to apply for $10,000 grants to implement some aspect of Levy’s concepts.
Change is hard. Nonprofits know that. What if those of us in the nonprofit field could look at change as something to accept and use to our advantage? Chip Heath, author of the best-selling book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, presented a Piper Academy to discuss concepts for a new book, Switch that he and his brother were writing at the time on change (this book too, Switch—Changing Things When Change Is Hard, went on to become a best-seller).